Lal's Birthday UNHCR Fundraiser

TLDR; to celebrate my 24th birthday in a meaningful manner please consider donating to my fundraiser for UNICEF to help Syrian refugee children get the required humanitarian assistance.

As I approach my quarter life crisis, I want to take some time to reflect on and appreciate all the opportunities and privileges that were granted to me simply by being born to a good family. My family was able to put me through good schools, send me to the US for college and support me in my decision to relocate to London just a week ago. If things don’t go the way I plan, I know I always have a home in Istanbul to go back to.

When I moved to London, I was excited, but also anxious. How will I make friends during a pandemic? Will people welcome me? Can I make this place that I am now living in a permanent “home”?

Well, all my worries look trivial as I reflect on the lives of millions of refugees who had to leave their homes due to violence and conflict. Unlike me, who wanted to live a more “European lifestyle” and stay close to family, a lot of the refugees had to leave their loved ones with the hopes of living in comparative safety. While all I had to do was apply for a visa, pack my bags and take a flight, each refugee has a different journey: some try to cross the sea in a boat; some are smuggled across countries, some walk through war zones and all rely on random strangers’ kindness. Even when refugees make it to their final destination, they face tough conditions in poorly managed camps. All odds stack up against their survival as 60-70% of asylum cases are rejected. Kids who have been granted permission to stay are often forced out of their new homes once they turn 18.

I realized I tend to complain much more than I deserve to and I am hoping as a 24-year-old I will learn to appreciate how lucky I have been with the lottery of birth. Please consider donating to UNICEF to help me celebrate my birthday in a meaningful way and provide humanitarian assistance to Syrian refugee children.


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Lal Kazdal 
Chicago, IL
Registered nonprofit
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